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Domestic on-time departures reach 12-month high in May

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 25, 2019

Australia's domestic carriers at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)
Australia’s domestic carriers at Sydney Airport. (Seth Jaworski)

The proportion of scheduled domestic passenger services departing on time hit a 12-month high of 84.7 per cent in May, figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) show.

Cancellations were also relatively low at 1.8 per cent of flights.

BITRE said the May on-time departure result was better than the long-run average of 83.8 per cent.

The on-time arrivals rate of 83.5 per cent in May also bettered the long-run average of 83.8 per cent. However, the cancellation rate was worse than the long-run benchmark of 1.5 per cent.

Although the best for a year, the figure for on-time departures was consistent with the seasonal pattern: May was typically a good month for punctuality.


The May 2019 figures were in fact worse than May 2018, when 85.0 per cent of flights left on time.

May 2018 was in turn worse than both May 2017 with an 87.4 per cent on-time rate, and May 2016, which had 88.4 per cent of departures on time.

This means that a flight scheduled in May 2019 was 32 per cent more likely to be cancelled than three years earlier.

Of the major domestic airlines, Virgin Australia had the highest on-time departure rate in May, at 86.2 per cent, with Tigerair Australia at the bottom of the list for the seventh month in a row with 77.2 per cent.

Of the regional airlines, Regional Express was most punctual, with 87.8 per cent for on-time departures.

Qantas recorded the highest percentage of cancellations (2.8 per cent) during the month, with QantasLink racking up the highest cancellation rate among the regionals. The best of the majors was Jetstar at 0.7 per cent, although Regional Express was the best overall at just 0.6 per cent.

Although in the middle of the pack with a cancellation rate of 1.8 per cent, Tigerair Australia has managed a notable turnaround after averaging 4.5 per cent in the year to April, which included a peak of 8.8 per cent in January.

BITRE noted in its monthly report there was some variance between the airlines in terms of data collection. Jetstar and Qantas jet services use Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) to electronically measure performance, with other Qantas services and non-Qantas carriers collected data manually from pilots, gate agents and/or ground crew.

Sectors Arrivals on time Departures on time Cancellations
Scheduled Flown No. % No. % No. %
Jetstar 6313 6270 5264 84 5191 82.8 43 0.7
Qantas 9385 9126 7623 83.5 7764 85.1 259 2.8
QantasLink 10680 10479 8731 83.3 8790 83.9 201 1.9
Regional Express 6590 6548 5548 84.7 5747 87.8 42 0.6
Tigerair Australia 2211 2171 1642 75.6 1676 77.2 40 1.8
Virgin Australia 11793 11540 9746 84.5 9942 86.2 253 2.1
VA Regional Airlines 847 837 650 77.7 694 82.9 10 1.2
All Airlines 47819 46971 39204 83.5 39804 84.7 848 1.8
All Qantas designated 20065 19605 16354 83.4 16554 84.4 460 2.3
All Virgin Australia designated 12640 12377 10396 84 10636 85.9 263 2.1

Source: BITRE

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Comments (2)

  • Ben


    Why is the cancellation % the same as the number of cancellations?

    • australianaviation.com.au


      Hi Ben,
      Apologies for the error. The table has been updated. Thank you for reading.

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